This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1927, the Sunny Point Cannery in Ketchikan was destroyed by fire.

• In 1952, a fire destroyed much of downtown Wrangell.

• In 1979, avalanches closed the road to Seward.

In the nation

• In 1820, U.S. naval hero Stephen Decatur was killed in a duel with Commodore James Barron near Washington, D.C.

• In 1882, Congress outlawed polygamy.

• In 1933, during Prohibition, President Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.

• In 1941, the Grand Coulee hydroelectric dam in Washington state went into operation.

• In 1972, Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification. (It fell three states short of the 38 needed for approval.)

• In 1987, a garbage barge, carrying 3,200 tons of refuse, left Islip, N.Y., on a six-month journey in search of a place to unload. (The barge was turned away by several states and three other countries until space was found back in Islip.)

• In 1997, a day after a suicide bomber killed three women in Tel Aviv, Israeli troops clashed with hundreds of Palestinians in Hebron. Tara Lipinski, at age 14 years and 10 months, became the youngest women's world figure skating champion.

• In 2002, the Postal Rate Commission announced approval of higher postal rates, including a 3-cent boost for first-class letters, to 37 cents.

• In 2006, more than 125,000 hourly workers of General Motors Corp. and auto supplier Delphi Corp. were offered buyouts to help cut the companies' crippling labor costs. The Basque separatist group ETA announced a permanent cease-fire with Spain.

In the world

• In 1765, Britain enacted the Stamp Act of 1765 to raise money from the American colonies. (The Act was repealed the following year.)

• In 1945, the Arab League was formed with the adoption of a charter in Cairo, Egypt.

• In 1946, the British mandate in Transjordan came to an end.

• In 1978, Karl Wallenda, the 73-year-old patriarch of "The Flying Wallendas" high-wire act, fell to his death while attempting to walk a cable strung between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

• In 1997, a day after a suicide bomber killed three women in Tel Aviv, Israeli troops clashed with hundreds of Palestinians in Hebron.

• In 2002, President Bush joined a U.N. poverty summit in Monterrey, Mexico, where he urged world leaders to demand political reform from poor countries in exchange for increased aid and warned that unchecked poverty can foster terrorism.

• In 2006, a Gabon-bound ferry sank off the coast of Cameroon; more than 120 people are believed to have died. A bus carrying cruise ship tourists plunged off a highway in northern Chile and tumbled down a mountainside, killing 12 Americans.

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